THE WORD: Urlaubsreif

Literally meaning ‘holiday-ripe’, the German word urlaubsreif perfectly encapsulates everyone’s restless pre-vacation mood. Yes, that moment when you start counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until your break. Few languages love a good compound word more than German and, as so often in German, this one satisfies all the thoughts and emotions associated with the idea in question. Let’s be clear: you’re due a vacation, you’ve earned that break, you’re prepared for the trip, and you’re ready to enjoy all that richly deserved time off. So, sit back and smile in the knowledge that this is your time, your holiday and your summer. 

Perfect If: You didn’t know it before, but you do now: you are well and truly urlaubsreif.

THE FILM: Where The Crawdads Sing

July is traditionally the start of the blockbuster season, and this July is no different with Thor: Love and Thunder leading the way from the relentlessly creative mind of director Taika Waititi. However, if you feel yourself wanting a different kind of cinematic experience, then Where the Crawdads Sing should appeal. Based on the publishing phenomenon of the same name from author Delia Owens, the film recounts the story of Kya – ‘The Marsh Girl’ – from her childhood in North Carolina through to later accusations of murder. Look out for brilliant young English actress Daisy Edgar-Jones in the lead role, who was last seen starring in the TV adaption of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People.

Perfect If: You loved the book and want to enjoy a summer movie that depends more on story than spectacle. 

THE EVENT: Tour de France Femmes

Okay, full disclosure: this isn’t the first time that a women’s equivalent to the Tour de France has been held. However, it does still mark a landmark as the return of the race, and now with the intention to hold the race every year – “for at least the next 100 years”, according to race organisers. Starting on 24 July, the Tour de France Femmes will take place across 8 days with live daily television coverage and a prize fund of €250,000, making it the biggest prize in women’s cycling and likely to attract the sport’s biggest names.

Perfect If: You know that women’s sport encapsulates every bit as much skill, endeavour, surprise and drama as men’s sport.

THE SOUND: JACK WHITE Entering Heaven Alive

A new album from Lizzo and a debut album from Noah Cyrus are likely to draw the most headlines this month, but don’t overlook the fifth solo album from Jack White to be released on 22 July. For anyone who might be confused, yes, this arrives just three months after the release of his fourth solo album – Fear of the Dawn in March. This is certainly prolific – even by the prodigious standards of this multi-hyphenate creative polymath. With 12 Grammys already under his belt and past collaborations with the likes of Loretta Lynn and Beyoncé, his latest album promises a more acoustic folk- and country-tinged sound.

Perfect If: You’ve followed Jack White’s musical journey and are curious to discover a different side to his work.

THE HOT TICKET: Vieux Farka Touré

With a new album out in June – Les Racines (French for ‘The Roots’) – Touré is back in the limelight five years after his last new music release. He will be touring his haunting blend of Malian blues at selected venues in the US and Canada in August, with tickets available now. The son of the late legendary musician Ali Farka Touré, Touré fils has long varied his output to underscore his individual talent and musical identity. With his new album, however, he is drawing ever closer to the rootsy, blues-infused source of his father’s music.

Perfect If: You’re intrigued by the way that the origin of blues, rock and roll, and many other musical styles can all be heard in Mali’s magnificent desert blues.

THE LOOK: Northern Fashion Week

Running from 4-9 July with the main event over three days from 7-9 July, this new regional fashion show based in Manchester will highlight the fashion and creative talent across the north of England. The mission of NFW is to put a spotlight on the many untapped fashion opportunities in the North, while encouraging greater diversity and inclusivity, as well as contributing to a more sustainable future for British fashion.

Perfect If: You know about the contribution of Manchester and the North to the history of British fashion, or simply appreciate the region’s creative energy. 

THE SHOW: Black Bird

We’re realists here at American Express Essentials HQ. We don’t ask for much, and we expect even less. For that reason, we realise you will doubtless be glued to Volume Two of the latest Stranger Things season when it arrives on 1 July. We don’t blame you and, in fact, we might even join you.

On that note, if you’re looking for something to watch after you’ve finished Stranger Things, then the new limited series Black Bird should be a treat for true crime fans. The show stars Taron Egerton, best known for Rocketman and two instalments in the Kingsman movies series. This latest psychological thriller for Apple TV+ is based on the autobiographical book – take a deep breath, it’s a long one – In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.

Perfect If: You like your mysteries and thrillers based on fact rather than fiction.

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